BUILDING BOOM: Coast housing approvals soar

NEW home approvals in the Wide Bay-Burnett continue to soar.

The latest backdated figures show building approvals went up 21 per cent in July despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Master Builders deputy chief executive Paul Bidwell, figures for the months that followed could be even better for the region.

It was a mixed bag across Queensland in July.

Mr Bidwell, said figures for Far North Queensland, North Queensland, Wide Bay-Burnett, Downs and Western and Brisbane were all up for the month, with Central Queensland the standout.

"Central Queensland was a star performer with housing approvals increasing by 55.9 per cent over the month and 36.2 per cent over the past year," he said.

"There's also talk on the ground that the figures for August (which aren't out yet) will be even better.

"Looking across the state it's clear that the impact of the HomeBuilder grant is yet to be truly felt, particularly on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Mackay and Whitsunday.

"While the stimulus hasn't translated into building approvals in some areas, housing finance numbers and anecdotal evidence from builders regarding the large number of signed contracts, indicate these will soon translate into approvals and building work on the ground."

Concerns remain that an unprecedented level of contracts are pending finance approval, which may not go ahead and will not result in construction work on the ground, due to HomeBuilder rules stopping lenders from considering the grant when determining eligibility.

This in turn means new home buyers are unable to use the $25,000 grant as part of their deposit.

"We'll continue our work with government to address this technicality, as it certainly wasn't the original intention of the grant," Mr Bidwell said.